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Welcome to the community!

Hello!  And welcome to this amazing community!  My name is Jennifer.  I am a 30 year old woman from Southern California, who suffers from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  I also struggle with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and insomnia.  (not diagnosed)  My goal as the founder of this organization, is to speed up Mental Health Awareness, help educate the public and support those suffering with similar ailments.  We need to be heard, we need to be taken seriously, and in so doing, we need to realize and then remember that we are not alone in our struggles.


Some numbers to check out:

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.
43.7 million U.S. adults
18.6% of all U.S. adults

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
13.6 million U.S. adults
4.1% of all U.S. adults

Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13-18 experiences a serious mental disorder at some point during their life.
21.4% of all U.S. youth
13% children aged 8-15

People in the U.S. who suffer from:
Schizophrenia- 1.1%
Bipolar Disorder- 2.6%
Major Depressive Episodes (at least once in a single year)- 6.9%
Anxiety Disorder (PTSD, OCD, etc.)- 18.1%

An estimated 800,000 people die from suicide each year.


 If I touch one person's life, it will not be enough.  For my purpose in this life is to spread awareness, and to help those who are looking for answers and relief. 

From my heart to yours,

Peace of Mind be with you!  Always!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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Why name this organization "Peace With Paws"?
In the year 2000, my mental struggles began to climb.  I lost one Grandpa on January 1, just after midnight.  Great way to start the new millennium, huh?  The very next day, one of my friends lost his battle with depression, at only 15 years old.  The following month, one of my high school teachers had a heart attack and passed away.  November 12, 2000, my Papa passed away only about one hour after we went to visit him at the hospital.  My year, my life was spiraling out of control.  It seemed everybody I Loved, was passing away.  The following year, 2001, several more deaths of Loved ones.  And since then, up until now, I have had to live through many, many more deaths.

Feeling as though I were the most lonely person on Earth, with no sign of relief anywhere in my future, I very strongly put all of my heart and soul into the animals in my life.  My animals were what kept me going.  They kept me alive.

In 2008, I met the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  2011 came the wedding, and by 2013, I was divorced, and living back with my Parents and my Brother, drinking away my life.  At my lowest, my ex husband had both of my cats, whom I love more than anything in the world, and he was not going to give them back to me.  My Family would find me nightly, on the driveway, wasted out of my mind from the six-12 pack of beer, or hard liquor I had just chugged, sobbing and screaming.  I just wanted the pain to end.  I had no escape.

One day, my Brother came home with a surprise.  A very special surprise.  A puppy.  We all very quickly fell in Love with her.  So much in fact, that my Mom decided to adopt her beautiful Sister!  So then we had three.  My precious Bandit, and the Sisters, Ginger and Rosie.  It was a full house, but we couldn't have been more happy... Until only a couple of months later, when I fell absolutely head over heels in Love with my baby girl, Evelyn.  My Mom and I drove an hour away to pick up my precious girl.  As soon as I saw her, my heart melted.  I was completely lost in her beautiful eyes.  My angel.  My Evelyn.  But I still didn't have my first two babies.  Bailey and Apollo.  How could I ever live without my precious Bailey and Apollo?  The truth is, I couldn't.  I couldn't live without them, and yet they were still so physically far away from me.

After several months of crying, fighting, screaming, and complete desperation, I was finally able to talk my ex husband into giving me my babies back.  I have my beautiful cats!  I have my Bailey and Apollo!  Without then, I felt worthless.  I felt like my life was not worth living, until I found the Love of Evelyn.  She, in very many ways saved my life.  She gave me Love to look forward to, and she gave me a reason to smile.

So why name this organization "Peace With Paws"?  Because that's how I found my peace... with paws.

I Love you, my angels!  Walter, Bailey, Apollo, Raleigh, Evelyn, and every other paw I have ever been so lucky to have met!

 

 

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Written by Jennifer Shunk
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Today is the first day in four days that I haven't slept all day.  I slept for three days, waking up only the go to the bathroom, and to eat.  I'm pretty certain it has to do with my new prescription that the psychiatrist put me on.  My new cocktail is Prozac 60mg, Otho tri-cyclen lo, Abilify 30mg, and iron and biotin.  The psychiatrist told me to take the Abilify in the morning with all of my other pills, whereas three of the pharmacists I talked to, told me to take them at night, because it may make me sleepy.  Who do I listen to?  None of them, is my answer.  I'm going to figure it out myself, as I have gotten so good at doing.  So the first few days, I took it at night, and I slept for three days.  I have been RIDICULOUSLY antsy, to the point of there is no way anybody could live like this.  And I wish I had my Valium back.  I've felt like the only thing I can do to ease the feeling, is sleep.  So I've been curling up either on the couch or in bed, and I've been sleeping.  Today, I forced myself to stay awake, and if I started feeling antsy, I started picking up a few things around the house, played on my phone on a new app that I found, that's one of those adult coloring books, and now I'm typing this out.  All in hopes of calming my brain down, and not falling asleep or going crazy.  

Joe has been putting all of his time and effort into our website.  He will never know how eternally grateful I am for him and for all of his hard work.  We now officially have our store open!  I'm so excited to finally be able to wear our organization around, and get the word spread about Mental Health Awareness!  This is the biggest and best thing I have ever done in my entire life.  I am beyond thrilled.  We have put a lot of time and work into this website and our facebook support group.  I can only pray that it grows as gigantic as we can imagine.  I know it will get big.  I've just got to be patient, and keep thinking of things to sell and do.

We had our January get-together one week ago.  It was great to see everybody!  It always is.  I Love my support group more than anything in the world.  We all belong together, and that's where we're gonna' stay.  For this month's get-together, Toni and I are going to be pushing the word around like crazy, so that we can hopefully double or even triple the amount of people who will be joining us.  She's my partner in crime.  haha  I would like to stick with a specific topic for this month's get-together.  'Loving Someone With A Mental Illness'.  I think it's a great topic for the Valentine's month.  We'll see how it goes.  And we'll see if I'll even be able to write anything out for a speech this month.  I really hope I can do it.

Even as I am writing this, my brain is going a million miles a second.  I can't seem to keep on one topic, and I definitely can't concentrate.  Joe surprised me with an awesome book that his Cousin's girlfriend wrote a week ago, and my brain has not allowed me to be able to read at all the past few days.  I've only read one chapter, but so far it's good.  I have high hopes for it.  And it's even more awesome because we know the person who wrote it.

Well, I think I've written enough for now.  I'm hoping to get back on track with my blogging very soon.  Here's hoping to a slowed down brain!  haha

Peace with Paws! 

-Jennifer

 

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